Silent ⟨l⟩

The letter ⟨l⟩ is silent in some words in English pronunciation when the previous letter is a vowel. Common examples include:

calm /kɑːm/
talk /tɔːk/
could /kʊd/
folk /fəʊk/

The silent ⟨l⟩ often indicates a long or diphthong vowel sound, though there are exceptions. Examples of words with silent ⟨l⟩ organised by vowel sound are:


palm /pɑːm/
calm /kɑːm/
psalm /sɑːm/
almond /ˈɑːmənd/
balm /bɑːm/
calf /kɑːf/


stalk /stɔːk/
talk /tɔːk/
chalk /tʃɔːk/
walk /wɔːk/
baulk* /bɔːk/ or /bɔːlk/


colonel /ˈkəːn(ə)l/


folk /fəʊk/
yolk /jəʊk/


would /wʊd/
could /kʊd/
should /ʃʊd/


salmon /ˈsamən/

Many English places names include a silent ⟨l⟩:

Norfolk /ˈnɔːfək/
Suffolk /ˈsʌfək/
Lincoln /ˈlɪnkən/

as does the English pronunciation for the capital of Sweden:

Stockholm /ˈstɒkhəum/

Optional Silent ⟨l⟩

Some words beginning ⟨al⟩ and pronounced with /ɔː/ have a silent ⟨l⟩ for some speakers in fast connected speech, but the ⟨l⟩ is pronounced by many speakers, particularly in slower more careful speech. The possible silent ⟨l⟩ is in brackets in the transcriptions:

although /ˈɔː(l)ðəʊ/
already /ɔː(l)ˈrɛdi/
alright /ɔː(l)ˈrʌɪt/
always /ˈɔː(l)weɪz/

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